As a child I was taught that to laugh at a person is disrespectful. Don't laugh when a classmate falls off the monkey bars. Don't laugh when the girl in the front row asks an easily answered question. Laughing with was encouraged. Laughing at was disciplined.
So imagine my confusion when I read about the Proverbs 31 woman who laughed at the future - God's future. My elementary playground rulebook would surely discourage such behavior. Laughing at God and His future would be a punishable offense. The Proverbs 31 woman must have missed that lesson in class. Or maybe she was the class rebel. Either way, her reaction to the unknown and the perfect plans of God has, for years, baffled me.
Until last night.
As my body jumped from raging hot to freezing cold to hot again, putting me through the thermostat ringer, a smirk formed across my face. Then I began to laugh. I laughed at the mystery of it all. I laughed at the unpredictability of my body. I laughed because I could have never imagined that, at the age of twenty-six, this hot flash roller coaster would be the saga that is my life. With hands like ice cubes and feet that felt as if they were bitten by frost, I let out an audible belly laugh.
Most of all I laughed because if I might have cried. It would have been so easy to cry over the suffering God has allowed to plague me for years. The thought of dreams, hopes and wishes that have been dashed in the wake of physical discomfort would have been enough to bring a flood of tears to my eyes. The crushing fatigue that was weighing on me like sandbags could have brought with it a crushing despair and sorrow.
But instead I laughed. Even under the weight of my circumstances I was able to laugh and in that moment I understood the Proverbs 31 woman. She wasn't laughing out of disrespect or disregard for the perfect will of God. The woman described in Proverbs 31 laughed because if she didn't laugh she'd cry. She trusted God enough to choose laughter in the face of a thousand reasons to wail and sob. But she believed in God's goodness enough to laugh in the midst of trials and tribulations. When the rest of the world might have wept, the Proverbs 31 woman laughed instead.
For all of these years that I've been praying to become the Proverbs 31 woman I've never asked to be filled with her laughter. I guess I didn't need to ask. God had a plan for the future that included a lesson on laughter. Now I understand that even in the heat of the trial I can laugh at the future because I am trusting the one Who holds it.